Freaky Friday: Maggot Power!

Scientifically engineered maggots can speed up healing for diabetic woundsNorth Carolina State University has come up with a faster way to heal diabetic wounds, but it sure ain’t pretty!

According to a recent study published in BMC Biotechnology journal, researchers scientifically engineered green bottle fly larvae (also known as Lucilia sericata) by exposing the larvae to heat while discharging a special protein called Platelet-derived growth factor subunit B (PDGF-BB).

After the ‘super maggots’ were engineered, they were placed on an open wound that failed to heal due to the patient’s diabetes. The enhanced maggots sterile excretions acted as a salve to the wound, preventing the infection from getting worse and even hastening the healing process!

While the thought of putting maggots on your feet is, admittedly, totally gross, you need to know that ulcers can be incredibly hard to heal once formed; you can’t afford to discount a viable treatment just because of an ickiness factor.

If the thought of maggots and festering wounds makes you squeamish, here’s my best advice: engage in daily diabetic foot care, so you never get to the point where these things are a medical must. Conduct daily home foot exams, looking for any nicks, scratches or red spots and report any abnormal findings to your doctor. An ounce of prevention should keep you far, far away from these highly effective—yet highly disgusting—wound healing super-maggots.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.